Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Fewer untying the knot
Fewer Canadian couples are getting divorced, and those who do are untying the knot at a much later age.
After three consecutive years of growth, the number of divorces has declined for two years in a row. In 2002, a total of 70,155 couples had a divorce finalized, down 1.3% from 2001 and 1.4% from 2000.
The number of divorces is now 11.2% below the most recent high of about 79,000 in 1992, and 27.1% below the all-time peak of about 96,000 in 1987.
A downward trend was also seen in marriages throughout the 1990s. Although the number of marriages rose in 1999 and 2000, the number of couples who got married in Canada in 2001 declined sharply.
The most recent declines in the number of divorces occurred despite increases in the population. As a result, the crude divorce rate fell 3.2% between 2000 and 2002.
The number of divorces fell in nine provinces and territories between 2000 and 2002, particularly in New Brunswick, where the decline was 14.9%, and in Saskatchewan, where it was 10.7%. Divorces were up in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and the Yukon.
Divorcing at later age
Each year for the last 17 years, men and women have been getting divorced at a later age.
Since 1986, the average age at divorce has increased by 4.1 years for men and by 4.2 years for women. In 2002, the average age at divorce was 43.1 for men and 40.5 for women.
Marriage data over the last few decades have shown increases in the average age when men and women are getting married. Men who divorced in 2002 had on average married at the age of 28.9, while women had on average married at the age of 26.3.
Between 1986 and 2002, the average age of marriage for individuals who divorced rose by 2.9 years for both men and women.
For more information, contact Patricia Tully (613-951-1759), Health Statistics Division.
© 2004, Statistics Canada.